Lake Twp. looks for fire chief
Written by DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 08:35
MILLBURY - The Lake Township Trustees will be burning the midnight oil looking for a new fire chief.
At Tuesday's meeting, the trustees put the search for a full-time fire chief on the fast track.
They voted unanimously to advertise for a full-time fire chief, close the application process by Aug. 15, and hire a chief at the next meeting on Aug. 20.
The rush is due to Interim Fire Chief Mike Hornyak giving two weeks' notice. Hornyak has been at the helm of the fire department since Chief Todd Walters and two firefighters resigned in February.
After the meeting, Bowen said the new chief would be paid $55,000 to $60,000 a year.
The last full time chief, Eric Larson, earned $57,825 at the end of his 2006-2009 service, Bowen said. Walters, a part-time chief, earned $27.73 an hour. Hornyak is paid $18 an hour.
Hornyak, who has a full-time job, gave the trustees notice after the July 16 meeting.
Bowen said the trustees, for the last six months since Hornyak has been in charge, have been content with his work, plus the part-time chief's salary is saving the township money. But it's time to move forward, she said.
"I just think we're being remiss," she said. "There needs to be a leader."
Bowen had drafted a job description, which she shared with trustees Richard Welling and Ron Sims on Tuesday. They agreed to hire a full-time chief.
"We're at the point now where we need to look for a chief," Bowen said. "Since I've been a trustee we've had four fire chiefs in this township - not a fact I'm proud of."
Walters left in a scandal this winter.
At a Feb. 21 special meeting, the trustees accepted the resignations of Fire Chief Todd Walters and longtime firefighters Richard and Michelle Hallock. The three attended the Feb. 9 wedding of Steve Sims.
At the reception, they became concerned about the level of intoxication of Scott Sims, a sergeant with the police department.
The Hallocks drove Scott Sims home, then decided to treat him. They obtained two bags of saline solution from a township fire station and administered them to Sims.
Walters had been part-time chief since February 2009 and a firefighter for more than 25 years.
Scott Sims served a five-day suspension.
There are 60 Lake Township firefighters.
Policies, procedures and job descriptions for the fire department need to be updated, Bowen said.
One policy was discussed Tuesday.
Currently, the township pays for firefighters' basic training, which can cost as much as $900, plus pays them "points" for being on the job during training.
The trustees are considering asking future firefighters to pay for the class. They will be reimbursed if they successfully complete the training.
On Tuesday, the trustees approved sending Madison Ammerman for a 36-hour volunteer fire class at the Oregon Career and Technology Center, Oregon, for $425.
Brent Jones will attend EMT class at the Oregon Center for $900.
Kyle Bihn, Josh Hillabrand, Mike Huepenbecker and Brandon Brown, will attend for $4,800.
The cost variances are due to weekend classes.
When firefighters are hired, they have 18 months to complete the basic training.